Union labor should not be disparaged

In light of the recent BART strike, there has been much criticism of union labor and the rights of union members.

Popularity of unions is said to slip, the public supposedly souring on unions. Facts are always helpful and, hopefully, someone will analyze dollar by dollar what union wages and pensions actually contribute to the economy.

I believe union salaries do trickle down and make a substantial contribution to the local economy. Union wages through taxation also trickle up to state and national economies.

There is much concern about the high(?) salaries of union labor. Supposedly the community begrudges the BART worker who has a base salary of $80,000 a year plus benefits, especially that pension. In the Bay Area economy, said worker will probably still require a second family wage earner to afford a Bay Area house. We are led to believe that pensions are a quaint relic of the past. What happens to small businesses, the housing industry, the arts, the community, if average workers make Walmart wages and the average retiree is limited to Social ecurity benefits? Union labor is actually a bulwark in the community. Rather than disparaging organized labor, we should recognize its huge financial contribution to local, state and national economies.

Laurie Umeh

Oakland

Must fix Hayward's homeless problem

I think that it was Emperor Nero who played his fiddle while the city of Rome burned.

I hope that is not what is happening here in Hayward.

I refer to the news in this paper that Joseph John White, 50 , was found dead Dec. 8 behind the Safeway store on Foothill Boulevard, one of six homeless who have recently died in Alameda and Santa Clara counties as temperatures have dropped at night to below freezing.

As Betty DeForest of the South Hayward Parish organization wrote to the Hayward City Council on Dec. 9:

"We've been talking about the center (for the homeless ) and talking about it and talking about it."

How many more Joseph John Whites will there be in the days ahead before a collective solution to this community challenge is found?

Gregory Rienzo

Hayward

Don't use religion to choose candidates

The author of a Nov. 29 letter says that only an atheist should be elected president.

I remember back during the 2000 campaign, a letter writer proudly stated that he would never vote for Joe Lieberman because the vice presidential nominee was Jewish and did not accept the deity of Jesus Christ.

While citizens can use any reason to decide which candidates to entrust with their vote, supporting or opposing any candidate based on the contender's religious views (or lack thereof) violates the spirit of the Constitution. Article VI states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." Voting based on religion is un-American, regardless of whether the preferred candidate believes or does not believe in God.

Andrew Gross

Union City

People must take the country back

President Barack Obama's a charming intellectual whose political skills are comparable to Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Don't let him fool you, though. Pay no mind to what Obama says, instead watch what he does. Obama has an insatiable quest for power. His quest is to change everything, including dismantling capitalism.

He believes in income redistribution and punishing the achievers and wants to model the United States on Canada or Great Britain. Obama's main objective is federal government control of energy, public education and health care. He doesn't really see himself as a U.S. president but more as a ruler over the world. This is the first president, ever, who has chastised our allies and appeased our enemies.

We must return to the party of lower taxes, smaller government, personal responsibility, strong national defense and states' rights. We must reclaim our country before it's too late. We must elect conservatives like Reagan, who loved the Constitution and its ability to limit political power.

Obama was elected to serve but all he's done is dictate.

Sandra and Edwin Stokes

Antioch

Obama's performance has been horrible

Am I satisfied with President Barack Obama's job performance? What job performance? The economy is the same if not worse than in 2008.

Full-time jobs have become part-time jobs, thus affecting livelihood and revenue while at the same time increasing income tax, mandating medical premiums for less quality medical coverage. If you don't comply, you get fined.

Is this the hope and change this president was voted for? No. I'm not satisfied.

Rudolph Jimenez

Newark